For a growing number of Australian consumers, purchasing decisions about furniture and other household items are shaped by a desire to be kind to the environment and the eye.
Retailers and suppliers have noted this, and a few of the major players on the market have made some encouraging environmental commitments of their own.
There are many ways businesses can take an environmental stand. One of the most powerful is by simply being certain of the provenance and sustainability of what they’re selling. When it comes to timber, Bunnings ensures all the timber outdoor furniture it sells is made from timbers certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC), and sources more than 99 per cent of its other timber products from low-risk plantations or other legally verified forest operations.
“It’s the right thing to do,” says John Gillam, managing director of Bunnings. “Our customers and our team members expect it. We make no claim to be perfect but we are sincere in our efforts to promote sustainable practices.”
Bunnings has shown outstanding leadership, says Greenpeace forests campaigner Reece Turner.
“They’ve played an important role in getting legislation to eliminate the import of illegal forest products before government. Once this is enacted, there will be serious legal consequences for companies who use illegally logged timber.”
Bunnings may be the big player but other organisations have also been supportive of Greenpeace’s campaign to halt deforestation. “We’ve been working with Fantastic Furniture and Patio by Jamie Durie as well,” says Turner. Ikea, too, has long worked with Greenpeace on its campaign to stop illegal logging.
There are, of course, many smaller companies quietly doing business in a sustainable manner. Melbourne outdoor- furniture maker and retailer Rob Cousens uses only FSC timber. Furniture maker Jardan not only insists on using certified timber but goes further, earning Good Environment Choice Australia (GECA) approval for the other materials that go into making its furniture items, including the Sunday chair (above).
“As a business owner, it’s of great importance to take responsibility for the impact the manufacture and distribution of our products has on the environment,” says Jardan director Nick Garnham. “We also see it as essential in growing our brand in a tough climate, where we compete against imported products that carry no environmental credentials.”